El Condesito

The El Condesito is a vessel that sank on 1 January 1972 near Las Galletas on the south coast of Tenerife in the Canary Islands and is now a well known dive site. The ship was transporting cement for the construction of Los Cristianos. [http://divingtenerife.net/divesites/el_condesito.htm]

Last voyage

The ship ran aground about 50m from the Punta Rasca Light House. When she sank she was carrying bags of cement that have now solidified into blocks. [http://www.tenerifetimes.com/content/view/116/71/] No lives were lost. [http://www.tenerifetimes.com/content/view/116/71/] The incident prompted the construction of the Punta Rasca Lighthouse three years later. [http://canaryislands.dive-international.net/info.php?pid=14&iid=415&type=w] [http://www.divesitedirectory.co.uk/dive_site_canary_islands_tenerife_wreck_condesito.html]

There are conflicting accounts of the last voyage. Some sources state that the vessel sank on Christmas Day 1975 [http://www.tenerifetimes.com/content/view/116/71/] whereas others claim 1 January 1972. [http://canaryislands.dive-international.net/info.php?pid=14&iid=415&type=w] Some sources suggest that the sinking was caused by the captain being drunk [http://www.tenerifetimes.com/content/view/116/71/] or that the crew went below deck to drink beer, to celebrate Christmas/New Year, and leaving the vessel on autopilot. Other sources suggest the Condesito suffered engine trouble during a storm. [http://www.divesitedirectory.co.uk/dive_site_canary_islands_tenerife_wreck_condesito.html]

Recreational dive site

The ship now lies in around 18m of water, with the deepest point at 21m and its highest point at 6m. Visibility can be in excess of 35m+.

Until recently the Hull, Engine room and Cabin were intact with only the Bow having been torn away. However, the wreck is increasingly unstable but can still be penetrated from many entry points. Access is easy from the forward hold swimming through the remains of the cargo. This dive is suitable for all levels of divers. All around the site are white solid ‘stones’ that are the now solidified bags of cement.

The wreck is home to a family of trumpetfish and octopus, with the top of the wreck surrounded by sardines. Trumpetfish well over a metre in length are frequently found around the propeller. It is not uncommon to spot barracuda, red sea stars, rays and eels within the wreck.

There is a 36m drop off nearby which is often dived by the more experienced divers to see the famous black coral before ascending to the El Condesito to off gas.

External links

* [http://www.tenerifetimes.com/content/view/116/71/ Tenerife Times]
* [http://www.bigblueplanet.com/bbplocationdetail.jsp?LocationID=124&View=Diving&CleanDrag Big blue planet]
* [http://www.wannadivingtenerife.com/diving-tenerife/diving_sites_tenerife.htm Wanna Diving Tenerife]
* [http://divingtenerife.net/divesites/el_condesito.htm Diving Tenerife Image Gallery]

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